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Does my blog make me look fat?

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

By Jeannine Sherman
Director of Public Relations
VISIT Milwaukee

Yes. Yes it does.

Jimmy Crack Corn and I don’t care.

I’m not disputing the rush that comes with being able to button a size-2 pair of jeans and continue normal breathing. But what’s life without a treat now and then? Good behavior, rewarded in moderation, never hurt anybody.

That’s exactly what I remind myself when I’m THIS CLOSE to purchasing the entire stock of cake bites at C. Adam’s Bakery in the Milwaukee Public Market. These are amazing, decadent and indulgent – I’m partial to the Red Velvet variety – and small enough to qualify as “guilt-free.”

C. Adam’s is one of several vendors at the Milwaukee Public Market that do their best to satisfy my inner foodie. The Market brings gourmet, specialty and organic food to Milwaukee’s historic Third Ward, a neighborhood of former turn-of-the century warehouses turned into upscale lofts, trendy boutiques, and eclectic art galleries. The Market is cool because it’s a modern version of the area’s old Commission Row, a street lined with historic buildings framed by metal awnings where farmers used to bring their produce to sell to local distributors. While the farmers are long gone, the street remains, now turned into a strand of sidewalk cafes and some of my favorite places in the city to relax over a glass of wine or a pint of what made Milwaukee famous.

Even Frommers.com is impressed! They rated the Milwaukee Public Market as one of the top ten public markets in the U.S. in 2011 – high praise, indeed!

What else is worth busting my buttons for at the Market? Just about everything. I’m a huge fan of the home-made, hand-dipped chocolates and frozen custard at Kehr’s Candies (that’s right, I’ve got a sweet tooth. What’s it to you?)

When I can’t get to the East Coast I can walk three blocks from my office to the Market and get a fresh lobster dinner at St. Paul Fish Company or catch it raw at Sushi-A-Go-Go. On the days my favorite pants don’t fit I atone at The Green Kitchen with a fresh, hand-tossed salad made to order. When I’ve had enough salad to fit into the afore-mentioned pants, I can splurge with a visit to the West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shop or Taste of Wisconsin. Two hundred + varieties of cheese… yum.

See? No matter what your scale, pocket-book or conscience is telling you, there’s something for everyone.

You’ll find custom-blended spices courtesy of The Spice House, seven, delicious, made-from-scratch soups daily at The Soup & Stock Market, flavors of the Middle East at Aladdin, amazing salads, sandwiches and meats at Rupena’s Fine Foods and the kind of bread that would make a believer out of Dr. Atkins at Breadsmith.

For the tired, there is java from Cedarburg Coffee Roastery. For the celebratory, there is Margarita Paradise, Thief Wine Shop & Bar and Buffalo Water Beer Bar. And if you’re just looking to make someone happy, Locker’s at the Market is the place to buy a stand-out bouquet or a single, lovely blossom.

The Market has a great din, with a lot of color, energy and bustle, which spills onto the streets every Saturday June through October when an outdoor Farmer’s Market is added to the mix. If you fancy yourself a chef, you need to check out the cooking classes at Madame Kuony’s Kitchen on the Market’s upper level. Whether you’re more likely to star in Worst Cooks in America, Top Chef or somewhere in between, you’ll have a blast and come home with a whole new set of impressive kitchen skills!

Wow. All that writing has made me hungry.

Cake bite, anyone?

 

Details: For information on hours, cooking classes, outdoor Farmer’s Market and more, go to www.milwaukeepublicmarket.org.

 

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I’m In:  Frank Lloyd Wright

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

By Jeannine Sherman
Director of Public Relations
VISIT Milwaukee

The architect must be a prophet... a prophet in the true sense of the term... if he can't see at least ten years ahead don't call him an architect.

Frank Lloyd Wright

The Milwaukee Art Museum is the perfect setting for Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century. The exhibit celebrates the 100th anniversary of Taliesin, Wright’s home, studio and school in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and the 10th anniversary of another architectural wonder, the Museum’s Quadracci Pavilion, designed by noted Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. 

This is a total Wright immersion, with more than 150 works including many drawings that have never been publicly exhibited, scale models, furniture, photography and rare video footage of Wright with his family and students at Taliesin.

It’s one thing to appreciate genius. It’s another thing to stand beside it.

Wright’s drawings are amazing – at once simple yet sophisticated, detailed yet clean-lined, delicate yet purposeful. There are also some unexpected surprises. My favorites include the 1958 “LivingCity” complete with space-age cars and flying saucer-style airplanes and the early 1900s LarkinBuilding. There is no better way to illustrate Wright’s 21st century vision than the juxtaposition of horse and carriage parked in front of this modern-day office building.

If you’ve never been to S.C. Johnson in Racine, get ready for the next best thing – a cool scale model. Wright’s flair for the organic is found not only in the way he designed buildings to complement their natural setting. It extends to indoor spaces as well, right down to the individual bud bases on the desks he created for the building’s Great Workroom.

Other highlights include a scale model of “The Illinois,” a mile-high skyscraper concept complete with 15,000 parking spaces and heliport and a 1930s scale model of BroadacreCity. This urban utopia was Wright’s answer to overcrowded cities and ugly suburban sprawl.  “A city that is everywhere but nowhere” is how he defined his ideal of decentralization. Because of its fragile nature this will likely be the last chance to see it. 

If you’re like me, you’ll get lost in the video of Wright’s well-known Fallingwater. This private residence was built around a waterfall and the images in this four- season survey speak volumes about Wright’s love of the natural world. The exhibit also features Wright’s houses of worship and his energy efficient, affordable Usonian homes.

It’s an amazing journey through nearly seven decades of exceptional design by an architect who literally changed the American landscape. 

Early in life, I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose honest arrogance, and have seen no occasion to change.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Frank Lloyd Wright

Wright on, Frank. Wright on.

 

Details: Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century runs now through May 15. Milwaukee Art Museum hours: Tues. – Sun. 10 – 5; Thurs. 10 – 8. Don’t miss the exhibit’s gift shop. Where else are you going to find a Fallingwater Lego set for that budding architect?

 

 

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I’m In:  Valentine’s Day

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Friday, February 11, 2011

By Jeannine Sherman
Director of Public Relations
VISIT Milwaukee

I’m In

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, The Daily Beast shows Milwaukee some serious affection, including it among its 50 Best Cities for Love. This popular website published by Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, “ranks the cities where love’s promise is most profound, from abundant singles to happy couples to romantic ambience.”

Air kisses, Tina!

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, traveled to Italy, India and Indonesia to find a soulmate. Maybe a passport to romance was closer to home than she imagined. Gilbert, in town for a recent book signing, says of Milwaukee "It's on my Top Five of the big-shocker cities that if you're not from around there you have no idea how cool they are. The place is fantastic. I could totally see living there. The architecture. The magnitude of these deep industrial buildings being repurposed and the lake. I'm a big fan."

Thanks, Elizabeth! And I could totally see Milwaukee as the setting for your next New York Times bestseller! Call me for a city tour. I’ve got connections.

 I’m not surprised these ladies are crushin’ on my home town. Think about it. It’s actually got all the qualities people lie about so they can score a date in the first place.

We’re naturally beautiful. Those photos on the web site? Those are really Milwaukee. We’re not putting up pics of some other city just to get you to come here and then you find yourself standing in the middle of a brownfield. We’ve got a Great Lake for a backyard! And a river running right through the middle of downtown! Travel & Leisure loves our RiverWalk so much they ranked it third among their Top Ten Coolest River Walks in the U.S.

    We’re easy – in a good way. Forbes Magazine named us second on the list of America’s Most Relaxed Cities. We beat out other large metros because of a healthy balance between work and life. Let’s be honest. This is important. Who wants to hang with someone who’s uptight all the time?

We’re entertaining. Men’s Health named Milwaukee number four on its “10 Best Places to Party in the U.S.” list - right after Las Vegas, New York City and Miami. It makes perfect sense. We gave the world its largest music festival, Summerfest, and an impressive lineup of the nation’s biggest ethnic fests. And we practically invented beer.

      

I have absolutely no proof to back up that last statement. Although travel web site TripAdvisor ranked Lakefront Brewery number four in the nation on its list of Top Brewery Tours. That’s gotta count for something. 

We’re textured – a quick stroll through downtown reveals a place with a lot of personality. I think the New York Times pretty much nailed it.  “The area still appreciates its beer and bratwurst: delis carry a mind-boggling variety of sausage, and bars are known to have 50-plus brands of brew. But Milwaukee also has 95 miles of bike lanes, lush parks lacing the shores of Lake Michigan and a revitalized riverfront where sophisticated shops coexist within sight of the city’s industrial past.”

We’re real, which means we don’t put on airs. We know when to mind our p’s and q’s, and when to loosen up a button or three. That’s why we’re home to what web site Virtualtourist calls the Sexiest Building in the World, the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Quadracci Pavilion. Check out this love letter: “it’s somewhere between a glorious yacht, a graceful dove and a modern dancer.” It even rocked the world of Hollywood director Michael Bay, earning a starring role in his next Transformers movie. That’s big-time street cred.

Naturally beautiful, easy, entertaining, textured and real. Now that sounds like the perfect match –the kind of place you could easily grow to love and that you can’t wait to share with all the people you care about.

See you soon, Valentine!

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Super Bowl XLV

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Monday, February 07, 2011

By Jeannine Sherman
Director of Public Relations
VISIT Milwaukee

I’m In!

Super Bowl XLV is one for the history books.

The Green Bay Packers are world champions and the Lombardi Trophy is coming home. All is right with the world.

Remember in January when I blogged about the local Polar Bear Plunge into Lake Michigan? Back when Super Bowl dreams were little more than crazy talk around a can of Miller Lite and a handful of crushed tortilla chips?

Even then Milwaukeeans knew the importance of showing your true colors. How else do you explain people jumping into freezing water in green and gold string bikinis and Speedos smaller than the average cocktail napkin? That’s pure fan loyalty at its overzealous best.

We never wavered in our commitment. We wore cheeseheads, painted our faces and invested in enough spirit wear to clothe half the small towns in Wisconsin. You could say we took the ball and ran with it.

The Milwaukee Art Museum backed the Pack. It bet Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art the temporary loan of a major artwork based on the outcome of the game. Renoir’s Bathers with Crab is going to look great in the MAM galleries!

The Florentine Opera got in the game by wagering the Pittsburgh Opera it could get more likes on Facebook than they could  – loser poses for a group photo wearing the opposing team’s gear. Milwaukee heard the battle aria and started clicking. I can’t wait to see how Pittsburgh rocks a cheesehead...

Team spirit was off the charts on the ice, too. The Milwaukee Admirals painted their face-off circles green and gold. Eckstein Hall, the home of Marquette University Law School, decked the building out in green and gold lighting that could be seen from the freeway!

There’s no question we back the Pack with the best of them – now let’s get ‘em back. Green Bay, how about showing Milwaukee a little love like in the old days? It’s been way too long since the Green Bay Packers played here. The last regular season home game in Milwaukee’s old County Stadium took place in December 1994 against the Atlanta Falcons. The Packers won 20 – 17.

I know what you’re thinking - Miller Park was built for baseball and there may be issues. But even if the end zones are in the bleachers, we’ll work it out. Our stadium has the only fan-shaped, retractable roof in North America and the Packers are a good dome team. It’s a start. And we can crank that roof open in less than ten minutes flat so you don’t have to worry about the punters kicking too high like in Dallas.

Milwaukee has plenty of Green Bay connections to make the team feel at home. Green Bay’s Hinterland Brewery has a restaurant in the Historic Third Ward. The Pfister Hotel has ties – legend has it that Vince Lombardi borrowed a concierge outfit and hung out near the elevators to nab players staying out past curfew. Speaking of Vince, I bet he ate at Mader’s restaurant. Why? It’s voted the most famous German restaurant in North America. It’s got a Hall of Fame filled with pictures of the famous people they have served. Something tells me he was a Sauerbraten kind of guy.

Lambeau Leap? Got it covered. If the Milwaukee Brewers agree to loan out the Klement’s Racing Sausages and we get some of the engineering students from Milwaukee School of Engineering on board, we can easily figure out how to launch those mascots right over the goal posts. We’ve got the aerodynamic nature of the costume on our side.

If all that’s not convincing enough, how about letting the words of the legend himself do the talking?

We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.
Vince Lombardi

What do you say, Coach McCarthy?

We’re in. Are you?

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I’m In:  Cheap Trick!

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Friday, January 28, 2011

By Jeannine Sherman
Director of Public Relations
VISIT Milwaukee

I’m In!

 

I try to sleep, they’re wide awake, they won’t let me alone. 

They don’t get paid or take vacations, or let me alone.

They spy on me, I try to hide, they won’t let me alone.

They persecute me, they’re the judge and jury all in one….

 

That’s right. The Dream Police are back and while they may not actually find a way inside your brain you ARE going to be singing this tune until your coworkers hide your iPod.

Trust me. I finally found mine buried underneath a bunch of candy wrappers in the company Suggestion Box.

Dream Police featuring Cheap Trick at Potawatomi Bingo Casino’s Northern Lights Theater is one rockin’ good time. Original band members - singer Robin Zander, guitarist Rick Nielsen and bassist Tom Petersson - are joined by The Bombastic Symphonic Philharmonic with The Rhythmic Noise Mind Choir.

Translation? An 18-piece orchestra, horn section and backup singers. Add a slick multimedia production to that and you’ve got one entertaining concert experience.

 At 500 seats, the Northern Lights Theater allows you to get up close and personal with the group who’ve been dubbed “the world’s greatest bar band.” There’s truly not a bad seat in the house. I was totally on board from the moment the lights dimmed and the fog machines enveloped the audience.

Zander proved he can still rock a glam pair of skin tight, white leather pants with the best front men, Nielsen’s too-cute baseball cap and adolescent humor have thankfully survived the last three decades intact and Petersson is stylin’ a crazy, 19th-century-gentleman, Austin Powers meets Andy Warhol vibe that actually really works.

It was almost as much fun to watch these guys having a blast playing the music together as it was listening to the songs that served as a soundtrack to my misspent youth. And they didn’t miss a beat, going straight from The Dream Police album into a second set filled with a steady stream of crowd pleasers.

   Anybody who has been to a Cheap Trick show knows it only gets better when you come away with a coveted Cheap Trick guitar pick. The highlight of MY night happened when Rick skillfully pointed one in my direction and flicked it right at me. At first I wondered why on Earth he was throwing pop corn, but I looked in my lap, saw the pick, and knew I’d struck Cheap Trick gold. Then he smiled at me and for a split second I was 17.

If you’re thinking you’ll wait until the boys from Rockford head this way for festival season, I’d say the show is well worth the price of a ticket now. You don’t have to jockey for standing room only or settle for a warm beer out of a plastic cup and you get all the Bombastic stuff thrown in, too.

When they ripped into Surrender to close the show I was on my feet with the rest of the crowd singing out the words at the top of my lungs. It’s an anthem that hits home way more now than I thought it did back in 1978. And I realized it was pretty cool that the band who took the world by storm from Boise to Budokan. . . was right there with me.

Details: Shows are scheduled for 8 p.m. Feb. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25 and 26. For ticket pricing and availability go to paysbig.com.

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I’m In: Mummies!

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

By Jeannine Sherman
Director of Public Relations
VISIT Milwaukee

Before today, everything I knew about mummies would fit into a sarcophagus the size of a thimble. They come from Egypt, they’re wrapped in bandages, and if you wake them up you’re in for a world of hurt.  This minefield of misinformation was gleaned during an impressionable childhood filled with a steady diet of Saturday morning reruns of Scooby Doo cartoons and old, black-and-white horror movies.

Mummies of the World, running now through May 30th at the Milwaukee Public Museum, changed all that. It’s an extraordinary display – the largest traveling exhibition of mummies and related artifacts ever assembled – and the Museum is only the second venue to host this must-see. If you’re like me, it will leave you both fascinated and profoundly moved.

First, the fascinating.

I was amazed to learn mummies have been found everywhere from splendid tombs to hidden caves and on every continent, with the exception of Antarctica. The exhibit includes human and animal mummies from South America, Europe, Asia, Oceania and Egypt. Not all mummies are intentional. Sometimes, Mother Nature steps in – arid deserts, extreme cold and ice, and acidic bogs are prime environments for natural mummification.

Cool multi-media and hands-on interactive stations tell exactly how mummies are created. You’ll also learn what’s in a mummyologist’s high-tech tool kit and how these scientists use state-of-the-art techniques such as DNA analysis and CT scans to gain insight into ancient civilizations and cultures.

The breadth of the exhibit is amazing. While Egyptian mummies are well represented, Mummies of the World includes a 6,420-year-old child mummy from Peru, an entire family that was part of a group of 18th century mummies discovered in a long-forgotten church crypt in Hungary, and the mummy of a 17th century nobleman discovered in a German castle.

Now, the profoundly moving.

The Statement of Ethics at the entrance to the exhibit hit me like a ton of bricks. It frames the experience by reminding you that the mummies are far more than relics of antiquity. They are the remains of human beings.

Each one is a silent and eloquent testament to a life and a story as individual as any fingerprint.  At the same time, they remind us of the universal connection we all share.

From the amulet lovingly tucked into the garments of a young child to the graceful lines of the South American mummies, “seated for eternity,” a humbling humanity permeates the displays.

It brings home the questions “Who were they? How did they live? What can they teach us? What secrets do they hold?”

Details: Mummies of the World runs through May 30th at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Tickets are timed entry and include general Museum admission. The Museum recommends allowing two hours to explore the exhibit. Add to the experience via a self-guided audio tour on headphones.

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I’m In: The 2011 Polar Bear Plunge.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

By Jeannine Sherman
Director of Public Relations
VISIT Milwaukee

It’s back.

Every 365 days the New Year comes knocking. Problem is, it’s usually bringing an uninvited guest or two. That last ten pounds. A big, bad nicotine habit. Your ex, twice removed. You don’t HAVE to open the door, but you’re not fooling anyone.

You know they’re out there, waiting.

January 1 is an important benchmark for many people– a day set aside to challenge ourselves to reimagine, reinvent, and reinvigorate. 

Which means it’s the perfect time to debut my new VISIT Milwaukee blog, “I’m In.” Join me as I explore Milwaukee. Check out places you haven’t been, or haven’t been lately. Let’s get real  – as far as resolutions go, getting out of the house is way more appealing than getting organized, right?

In that spirit, I headed to Milwaukee’s lakefront New Year’s Day to watch the Polar Bear Plunge. No, I didn’t take off my sixteen layers of clothing and run screaming with wild abandon into the water in the face of 15 degree temperature and howling winds. Seriously – while I have no problem encouraging everyone ELSE to open the door, I’m a little hesitant myself. Besides, when you’re bundled up like the Michelin Man, it’s a little hard to work a zipper.

Baby steps, people, baby steps.

The atmosphere was equal parts Mardi Gras and Peary’s expedition to the North Pole. Picture an arctic landscape of frozen sand, gray-green water ….and an abundance of local wildlife that had staked out Bradford Beach as base camp.

Within ten minutes of arriving in this temporary tent city, I ran into Elvis, an aphid-colored alien, and the kind of impromptu body-painting on the part of die-hard Wisconsin fans that would impress the heck out of Kat Von D.  Why ask why, right? You gotta love the spirit of people who will pare down to a string bikini, yet make sure the family dog is wearing protective snow boots.

Really.

Intestinal fortitude was high and the mood was infectious as noon approached and the baptismal cry sounded. (And you were wondering what to do with that used vuvuzela you picked up at the World Cup.)  It’s hard not to smile as your fellow citizens take on Mother Nature in various states of costumed undress. As I watched them race into Lake Michigan, I started to get a total case of goose-bump and frozen-hair envy. I realized …it’s what we’re all about and I wanted to be a part of it.

Milwaukeeans have moxie. They’re genuine and true and they’re always up for hanging out with friends and having a good time. It doesn’t matter whether it’s cheering at a tailgate party, dancing at a festival…or even jumping into a Great Lake in the middle of winter wearing little more than a smile and a Green Bay Packers Speedo two sizes too small.

Nine times out of ten, when you ask us…we’re going to say ‘Okay, I’m in!”

How about you?

There’s only 360 days left this year, let’s get started!

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